Her senses were heightened as she stalked eastward across the great wall. The Felinian was acutely aware of the recent proclamation by the dark emperor regarding the Porcellians. Hunting them was strictly forbidden, but the survival needs of her tribe dictated defiance of the mandate. Listening carefully to detect the slightest echo of small footfalls, ever watchful for the emperor’s bloodthirsty hounds, she peers into the gloom of the forest and prepares to pounce at the first scent of her prey. Suddenly, from a dark copse of murmuring hemlocks to her left …
Are you currently a writer or have you ever aspired to be a writer at some point? Let me pose a challenge to you … Finish the Story. This first chapter is called “The Hunt”. I’m looking to add additional chapters later called “The Capture” and “The Kill”, but for now I’m just looking for the rest of the first chapter.
Felinian Writing Contest – Here’s how it works:
Tell us in 500 words or less what the Felinian does from here. When you’ve completed your creation, use the form at the bottom of this page to enter your submission. All stories will be judged by a panel of three: myself, my wife Evelyn Delgado-Flynn (a former ESL teacher), and Blake Curry, Executive Director at Think Tank Academics. The winner will be notified and the winning story will be posted on October 31. First prize is $100 plus a publishing credit.
We’re accepting submissions starting right now, and I wish you all the very best of luck, but before you begin your literary masterpiece, indulge me for a brief time longer and allow me to present a few thoughts about content creation and marketing. You’ll want to keep these in mind as you write, because the judges will be looking for these elements in your submission:
Targeting your Readership with Specific Words and Phrases
After the success of my last post, which readers have now nicknamed “The Sex Article“, my first thought was to title this creation “The Pussycat Chronicles”, but I figured the images associated with that would be a bit too racy (not that I’m averse to that). I chose “Felinian” instead, for its obvious cat connotations, and to pull in some of my Sci Fi geek friends (of which I have many). I used the word “chronicles” and the “dark emperor” reference for the same reason. To understand the thought progression, imagine Riddick the Furyan from “Pitch Black” battling Emperor Palpatine of “Star Wars”.
Cavia porcellus is the latin word for guinea pig, so in my mind the Porcellians are small, rodent-like creatures. The Felinian “stalking eastward” is a reference that will generate a smile from my Masonic friends; “Hunting them was strictly forbidden” should resonate with folks concerned about restrictive gun legislation; “Peering into the gloom of the forest” may instill images of the giant spiders of Mirkwood, or perhaps even the monstrous ROUS’s of “The Princess Bride”.
Virtually every element of what I wrote is here for a purpose. As a writer (or aspiring writer), it’s important to understand the power you yield with the proper use of words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. Some scribes are able to get their message across on the first cut; others need to go through their work many times, continually re-wording and “trimming the fat” to come up with the perfect phraseology.
Using Images and Sensory Descriptions to aid Visualization
The image you choose might be the single most important element of the article you write. This is known as Visual Imagery. Sadly, most internet users are not attracted by words. Web browsing millennials look at pictures and only read the article when an image stimulates some type of feeling inside them. Site or social media surfing is catalyzed by emotion, not thought. That’s why Facebook is filled with drama and politicians can win elections with fear-based politics.
Focus your attention again on the opening paragraph. The phrases you’re looking for this time are; “her senses were heightened” (touch); “Listening carefully” (hearing); “bloodthirsty hounds” (taste); “peers into the gloom” (sight); and “pounce at the first scent” (smell). This is known as Sensual Imagery. As part of my educational journey I once took a course in children’s literature. The very first lesson module contained an exercise on writing with the five senses. I use this exercise frequently in creative writing.
Eliminate Duplicate Words and Clean Up Clutter before You Submit
Don’t submit your first cut, or your second, or your fifth. Go through your story multiple times and clean out duplicate and extra words. The duplicates you can find replacements for by opening up Roget’s Thesaurus online (or buy the book). You’ll also want to keep a dictionary on hand every time you write. There have been multiple instances when I’ve looked up a word after I’ve used it and realized it was wrong for that situation. I use Merriam-Webster online, side by side with Roget.
Once you’ve made sure there are no repeating words close to each other, go back through the story and eliminate clutter, or extra words. For help with this, look for a book titled “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser. I first read it when it was originally published thirty years ago. Chapter 3 is all about clutter. I recommend reading it to improve your composition skills, along with another well-known literary classic called “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.
Know where you’re being Published
Don’t start writing until you study the entire site you’re going to be published on. For this contest, you’re going to be published on this website, so make sure you read all about what I do and study my blog posts for some insight into how I write. Here’s a tip for you: “Almost everything I write is a metaphor of some kind, including this story”. Miss the metaphor and you may still win the contest; capture it and you might just get a job offer. I’m always looking for quality writers.
Most Importantly, Have Fun
There’s nothing more enjoyable for me than pure creative writing. As a professional content marketer I rarely get to do it, so simply writing this first paragraph was incredibly fulfilling for me. My hope for you is that you have as much fun as I do when you’re creating your vision for this tale. Follow the tips I’ve just laid out, check your work multiple times, and have fun.
Submit your completed masterpiece using the form below: